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Best Practices for Responding to Online Reviews

Whether you love them or hate them, reviews are a significant part of your remodeling business’s online presence. Not only do they inform prospective customers about the quality of your workmanship, but they’re also often one of the first things people check about your company before ever contacting you. Put simply, online reviews are essential for home improvement businesses

And while having online reviews is a great start, in order to fully maximize their potential, you should be responding to all of your reviews – good or bad. 

What do You Mean by Responding?

When we say you need to respond to reviews, we literally mean you need to respond. As the business owner or marketing manager, you need to check your review platforms (Google, Facebook, etc.), look for new reviews, and type out a response. 

The Importance of Responding to Reviews

You may be asking yourself if responding to reviews is really that important. After all, if a customer left your company a glowing review, isn’t that what you were aiming for?

Well, yes. But the reality is not all reviews are positive. Negative reviews can be detrimental to your business by driving away potential customers. According to ReviewTrackers’ 2018 Online Reviews Survey, 94% of consumers say that a bad review has convinced them to avoid a business. Another interesting point from the survey was that more than half of consumers expect a response to their review from a business within 7 days. 

By responding to reviews – both positive and negative – it shows potential customers that you’re committed to satisfying your clients. Choosing to not respond to a negative review can leave the impression that your remodeling business doesn’t care about a past customer’s feedback, concerns, or experiences. As an added (major) bonus, responding to Google reviews has been shown to help you rank higher in local search

Responding to Online Reviews

Best Practices for Responding to Positive Reviews

So, someone left a positive review for your business – great! Like we said above, this is what you’re aiming for, this is what prospective customers want to see. That said, just because a review is positive doesn’t mean it’s necessarily helpful or insightful. Someone could leave a 5-star review stating “I like them.” Again, this isn’t a bad thing per se, but you can “optimize” the review by responding to it. 

You want to respond to positive reviews by acknowledging the customer and thanking them for their business. Keep it short and sweet. If someone leaves a rather bland review like the example above, you should use this as an opportunity to plug the name of the service they purchased and your company name. “Dear Mr. Jones. We’re so glad you love your new James Hardie Fiber Cement siding from XYZ Contracting. Thanks!” You can word it however you want, but you get the picture. This not only provides additional insight into your remodeling services but also improves your local search rankings. 

Best Practices for Responding to Negative Reviews

Before we get any further, you can’t remove or delete a negative review just because it’s negative. However, if the review is completely fabricated, breaks a review platform’s terms, or contains cursing, racist, sexist, or threatening language, etc., you can report it and request that it be removed. 

But assuming that it doesn’t break any review platform guidelines, you’re going to need to respond to it ASAP. You want to respond to the reviewer, acknowledge the situation, and try your best to take the conversation with the unhappy customer offline. For example: “Dear Mr. Jones, We’re sorry you had a bad experience, we will be reaching out shortly to help address the issue.” Just like a positive review, you want to keep it short and simple. By taking it offline, you not only eliminate the chance of an ugly back-and-forth online exchange, but you also have the opportunity to remedy the situation with the customer, potentially getting a positive review in the process. Now wouldn’t that be cool?

Online Reviews are a Powerful Tool

Online reviews have the power to impact your contractor business in more ways than one. It’s important that you embrace reviews because they’re not going anywhere. Fortunately, the team at FatCat is here to help. Over the next two weeks, we will discuss the best practices for sharing reviews and soliciting them from your customers. 

See you soon! Interested in learning more about how reviews can impact your remodeling contractor business? Set up a free 30-minute consultation to see if we’re the right fit for your organization.

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Pat graduated from the University of Missouri, where he studied Sports Management. After graduation, he worked in marketing for several years in his hometown of Chicago, before making the move to Raleigh in late 2018. A diehard sports fan, you can find him cheering on the Chicago Bears, the Chicago Cubs, and the Mizzou Tigers football team.

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